Acclaimed music composer to serve as artist-in-residence, perform with Wind Symphony in concert ‘Give Us This Day’

Friday, March 28, 2014David Maslanka
by: Rene Abadie

HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University's Department of Fine and Performing Arts will host acclaimed music composer David Maslanka as artist in-residence April 8-10.

During his three-day visit, Maslanka, a composer of more than 40 works for wind ensembles and bands, will lecture to several music classes, conduct masterclasses in percussion and saxophone, and meet with students.

Maslanka's visit will include his supervision of a concert titled "Give Us This Day" by the university's Wind Symphony and the St. Amant High School Band to be held at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 10. The performance is free and open to the public.

"We are extremely pleased to host world-renowned composer David Maslanka for this residency," said Director of Bands and Wind Symphony Conductor Glen J. Hemberger. "His compositions have been performed throughout the United States and in many places throughout the world. Both our faculty and our students should benefit from meeting and learning from this master composer."

Originally from New Bedford, Mass., Maslanka began his musical training on the clarinet. He attended Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and earned his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University. He has served on the faculties of State University of New York-Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, and New York University. Since 1990 he has been an independent composer and currently resides in Missoula, Mont.

The concert program Thursday includes Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little Fugue in G Minor," Charles Ives' "Country Band March," Maslanka's "Concerto for Alto Saxophone – Movement I; Song: Fire in the Earth" featuring Southeastern senior Jonathan Lyons, and Maslanka's "Symphony No. 4." The concert will conclude with Maslanka's "Give Us This Day."

Maslanka is widely known for his "Symphony No. 4," which has become a major composition in the wind band repertoire, Hemberger explained.

"The symphony was written for only the most advanced music ensembles to perform, as evidenced by its demanding technique, style, range and duration," he added. "It has been viewed by many as one of the hardest pieces penned for band and necessitates the highest level of musicianship."

"Give Us This Day," he said, premiered in 2006 and has literally taken off in popularity. While the title is based upon the Lord's Prayer, Maslanka's inspiration for the music comes from a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, whose premise is that the earth's future lies in individuals becoming deeply mindful of themselves.

"Give Us This Day" will be performed with the St. Amant High School Band.

"For many years, the St. Amant Band has been considered at the top of the list of high school band programs in Louisiana," Hemberger said. "They regularly achieve regional and national recognition for high standards of musical expectations and accomplishment. Southeastern has a number of St. Amant graduates in our band program, and we benefit from the outstanding musical training these young musicians receive there."


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